Dr. Larry Brilliant, known for his role in helping to eradicate smallpox, says we can defeat COVID-19 — if we can get our wits about us.
As the U.S. reached another bleak milestone on Sunday, a glimmer of hope from New York: The Empire State reported its lowest positivity rate since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
New York, for weeks the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported the rate — the average number of positive results for every 100 tests — hit a record low 0.78% on Saturday. That figure once reached nearly 47% in early April, although testing was much more limited at the time. The rate had been around 1% since early June.
Meanwhile, college football conferences are facing decision time on the fall season as the Big Ten presidents have voted against conducting a fall season.
Elsewhere, a team of Duke researchers studied the effectiveness of different types of face masks in filtering respiratory droplets and neck fleeces performed the worst.
Here are some significant developments:
- California’s public health director resigned Sunday days after the state fixed a glitch that created a lag in reporting coronavirus test results.
- Despite federal guidance, schools cite privacy laws to withhold info about COVID-19 cases.
- Throngs of mostly maskless bikers descended on the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. Daily virus cases have been trending upward in South Dakota, but the seven-day average is still only around 84, with fewer than two deaths per day.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 163,000 deaths and 5 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, there have been more than 732,000 deaths and 19.9 million cases.
📰 What we’re reading: Without a national plan on how to best allocate hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 tests each day, there’s not enough capacity now to screen Americans who might unwittingly pass the virus to others.
Big Ten presidents vote against playing fall football season
The Big Ten presidents have voted against conducting a season in the fall, three people with knowledge of the decision confirmed to the Detroit Free Press.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the decision. A formal announcement is expected to Tuesday, the people said.
The situation remains fluid as the details of what happens with a spring season remains unclear. Coming during a tense week of emergency conference meetings, the vote signals college football’s inability to grapple with the health and safety measures needed to combat the widespread transmission of the coronavirus while potentially leading to a domino effect of similar moves across the Power Five.
The remaining four conferences in the Power Five have yet to announce any decisions regarding the coming season. It is expected the Pac-12 will follow the Big Ten in cancelling the season.
– Paul Myerberg and Detroit Free Press staff
Trump spars with GOP senator who attacked his executive order
Seeking to tamp down Republican criticism of his new executive orders on the economy, President Donald Trump attacked GOP senator Ben Sasse on Monday as “Republican In Name Only” – the same senator who attacked his actions as “unconstitutional slop.”
Sasse used a vivid metaphor to denounce Trump’s new executive orders, comparing them to the ones President Barack Obama used to block deportation of children of parents who had entered the country illegally.
Trump and his aides said they still hope they can reach agreement with Congress on a new stimulus bill to address the economic problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
– David Jackson
When will Disneyland reopen? Virus surge keeps California parks in limbo
Disney World reopened nearly a month ago, and most Disney theme parks around the globe have also reopened after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. One that hasn’t: Disneyland.
And it’s unlikely that the Anaheim, California, park will reopen anytime soon. California leads the nation in coronavirus cases — more than 550,000 on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins data — and state officials aren’t ready to let theme parks reopen.
Disneyland is waiting on guidance from state officials, and the company did not offer additional details.
Also in California, the state’s top public health official, Dr. Sonia Angell, resigned Sunday. Angell’s departure comes as California announced a fix for a glitch that caused a lag in reporting coronavirus test results used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.
– Curtis Tate
Guam governor tests positive for COVID-19
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero tested positive for COVID-19, Guam’s government said in a statement Monday.
Leon Guerrero said she had been in contact with a close relative who had tested positive and she later tested positive after experiencing symptoms. “I remain in good health despite exhibiting moderate symptoms of the virus,” Leon Guerrero added.
– Pacific Daily News staff
Inside Wuhan virology institute: ‘No way’ virus leaked, Chinese officials say
Officials at the Wuhan Institute of Virology shot down the claim that the new coronavirus originated at their lab before eventually spreading around the world as NBC News provided an inside look at the facility.
In the first report by a foreign news organization from inside the lab, NBC News met with scientists who said they have been unfairly scapegoated as they continue to research the origins of the virus.
“Any person would inevitably feel very angry or misunderstood being subject to unwarranted or malicious accusations while carrying out research and related work in the fight against the virus,” Wang Yanyi, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told NBC News.
President Donald Trump and other administration officials have claimed without evidence that the virus originated in the Wuhan facility. The lab is equipped to study coronaviruses and other dangerous diseases. Yuan Zhiming, vice director of the institute, told NBC News that it first received samples of the virus on Dec. 30, but the news outlet could not verify the claim.
Neck fleece masks offer little protection, study shows
Fitted N95 masks are the most effective at filtering respiratory droplets from the mask’s wearer while neck fleeces offer little protection compared to others, a team of Duke University researchers found.
Using 14 commonly available masks as well as a professional fit-tested N95 and a patch of mask material, the researchers set up an experiment using a laser light and camera to show how many respiratory droplets are emitted when a person wearing each kind of mask speaks for 10 seconds.
Each mask was tested 10 times, and the results show that in addition to fitted N95 masks, surgical and cotton masks are also most effective at filtering droplets. Knitted masks and bandannas, similar to neck fleeces, offered little protection.
As states see record cases, some visit COVID-19 hot spots anyway
As three states set records for new cases in a week and three others had a record number of deaths, Americans are still searching for domestic vacation destinations that include places where COVID-19 case counts are rising, USA TODAY analyses show.
According to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Sunday, new case records were set in Hawaii, Indiana and North Dakota while record numbers of deaths were reported in Arkansas, Nevada and West Virginia, and also Puerto Rico.
Yet an analysis of data from Trivago, a platform for searching and booking hotels, shows Americans’ intention to travel is beginning to tick up again.
Trivago measures hotel search volume, which reflects travel requests and booking queries based on users’ link clicks. Last month’s volume was off 73% from the same time in 2019. And while it’s been up and down for months, Florida remained the country’s most-searched domestic travel destination, followed by California and Nevada.
– Dian Zhang, David Oliver and Mike Stucka
Report: 97,000 children tested positive in the last two weeks of July
At least 97,000 children in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July alone, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
All told, more than 338,000 children have been infected since the pandemic began, according to data from the report, which relied on data from 49 states along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam.
‘I can’t afford tuition’: College students face strains ahead of fall semester
Brittany Goddard’s final semester at Howard University isn’t the dream ending she imagined in Washington, D.C.
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down the U.S. economy in March, she scrambled to pack up her belongings, lost her part-time job and had her study abroad plans upended. And with just weeks to go before the fall semester begins, she’s worried about how she’ll pay the remaining balance of her tuition and fees – roughly $9,000 – since her financial aid won’t cover it at the private school.
“It’s heartbreaking. I’m a low-income student. I can’t afford tuition,” says Goddard, who created a GoFundMe page to raise money since her mother doesn’t have the means to take out another Parent PLUS Loan, a federal student loan available to parents of dependent undergraduate students.
Millions of students across the country, like Goddard, face financial strains and health fears as they decide whether to return to colleges and universities this fall.
– Jessica Menton
New York state registers lowest COVID-19 positivity rate
New York took another major step in its recovery Sunday when the state reported its lowest positivity rate since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the rate — the average number of positive results for every 100 tests — hit a record low 0.78% on Saturday. Both the state and New York City have been at some version of the final stage of reopening for at least 20 days, and Cuomo said the current number of ICU patients — 131 — was the state’s lowest since March 16.
MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals’ hiatus extended at least 3 more days
The St. Louis Cardinals, who have played a major league-low five games because of a coronavirus outbreak in their ranks, won’t get back on the field until at least Thursday.
MLB has postponed their three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which was supposed to start Monday, meaning the Cardinals will go at least 15 days between games and will have just 46 days to play the remaining 55 games on the schedule.
The Cardinals have had at least nine players and seven staff members test positive for COVID-19, and manager Mike Shildt said that has led to a “few visits to the ER.” St. Louis has had 15 games suspended.
– Jesse Yomtov
New Zealand marks 100 days without new COVID-19 infections
New Zealand marked 100 days with a local transmission of COVID-19 on Sunday, the country’s Ministry of Health said.
“Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent,” Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.
“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand,” he said.
There are still 23 active cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation facilities, the Ministry’s news release said.
US surpasses 5 million cases
The U.S. hit 5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 Sunday, just 17 days after reaching 4 million cases. The nation now has about 25% of cases reported worldwide.
Last week, President Donald Trump once again said the U.S. has the virus “under control,” describing his administration’s response to the pandemic as “incredible” in an interview with Axios aired Aug. 3 on HBO. This despite an average daily death toll hovering around 1,000, with almost 60,000 new cases being reported daily. Alabama has just hit 100,000 cases. South Carolina is 540 shy and Virgina is 811 short. Texas is about closing in on 500,000.
Trump’s recurring theme has been to blame the high number of cases in the U.S. on the high rate of testing. Ominous hospitalization and death rates, however, are not a function of testing.
– Khrysgiana Pineda and Mike Stucka
Georgia school in viral photo to go remote after students, staff test positive
Several students and staff members at Atlanta-area schools that drew attention for crowding and scarce use of masks have tested positive for the coronavirus after the first week of classes, and now one of those schools is going online.
North Paudling High School west of Atlanta will switch to digital learning at least for Monday and Tuesday as its facilities are sanitized after nine students and staff members tested positive for the virus the first week of in-person classes. North Paulding had made headlines soon after students returned to school Aug. 3 when photos posted on social media showed hallways crowded with students, many of them not wearing masks.
And after only one week of school, more than 250 students and teachers from one Georgia school district will be asked to quarantine for two weeks after several teachers and students tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Cherokee County School District’s website.
– Doug Stanglin and Joel Shannon
More COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
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Contributing: The Associated Press
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